Julian Cope presents Head Heritage


Released 1976 on Pôle
Reviewed by achuma, 29/03/2006ce

Fluence was a project of synthesiser player/experimental musician Pascal Comelade, named after a Heldon track, and would begin and end with this sole album. Comelade started making his own music in the mid-70’s, and released LP’s and cassettes on his own private label before releasing much of anything on any other labels. I lack any details for these other early releases, unfortunately. He later released many albums under his own name, much of which is experimental, some commercial, and in 1983 formed Bel Canto Orquestra, a fluid ensemble of 5-25 people who played an array of toy instruments. Comelade has continued making music to the present day, and over the years has collaborated with the likes of Jac Berrocal, Richard Pinhas, Robert Wyatt and Jaki Liebezeit.

The opening track ‘A Few Reasons To Stay, A Few Reasons To Split’ (14:37) features Comelade on synths with Heldon’s Richard Pinhas on guitar, and is cosmic and meditative music that sounds very much like Fripp & Eno playing with Terry Riley. The concluding track on side 1, ‘Barcelona Tango’ (2:36), is a short, lazy, jazzy tango (of course!) with electronic treatments, performed with Ben Soussan and Ph. (Philippe?) Beseme, presumably on the conventional instruments. Side 2 is just one long track – ‘Schizo’ (20:35) – of floating synth textures with some electric guitar, performed with the aid of J.P. Barreda and G. Ibanez (the notes on the back cover of the record don’t say what exactly they did, though, as with Soussan and Beseme).
It’s a very enjoyable album with little need for explanation! Basically, if you like Fripp & Eno and the more cosmic Terry Riley, you’re quite likely to get into this (if you can find a copy). It’s arguably not quite as good as ‘No Pussyfooting’, if you want to size them up against each other, but is also arguably more diverse in the palette and less formulaic. But there’s really no sensible need to put the two albums to a death match, they’re both great and complement each other within the aural space they created.

A couple of years later ‘Fluence’ was reissued on Tapioca. A small amount of music (less than 5 minutes) from this album can be heard on the Pascal Comelade compilation ‘1983/2004 – Back to Schizo’ [Gazul, 2004], though it is apparently taken straight from non-mint-sounding vinyl with no effort made to clean up the sound, according to on-line reviews. This suggests that Comelade hasn’t got his hands on the master tapes, so hopefully they show up somewhere for a proper reissue. Incidentally, the only copy of ‘Fluence’ that I’ve come across looked very clean, but played with a fair bit of crackle and high-end distortion.

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